Bel Air celebrated three champions and placed 13 wrestlers sixth or better to earn a fifth straight UCBAC team championship at the league’s 15-team annual tournament.
The tourney, hosted by Edgewood High School, was accelerated with extra rounds wrestled Friday, and was concluded by 2:30 p.m. Saturday to get all involved out of the gym with the fear of Saturday’s forecast for winter weather.
Bel Air 255.5 points to win easily, with Patterson Mill a distant second with 159. C. Milton Wright was third with 155, while Perryville, 129.5, and Rising Sun, 119, rounded out the top five. Other scores, in order were, Bo Manor, 102; Edgewood, 100; Fallston, 100; Havre de Grace, 97; North East, 97; Aberdeen, 94.5; Harford Tech, 52; North Harford, 52; Joppatowne, 32; and Elkton, 6.
Despite the finish, Bel Air had eight in the finals, but came away with just the three champs. “We had a couple of three seeds get to the finals and we had a really good first round, all the way around,” Bobcats coach Craig Reddish said. “All 14 of our wrestlers made it to the quarters, we had 12 to the semis, which is huge because you’re placing 12 in the top six.”
Leading the Bel Air champs was senior Liam Bowers, a repeat champ from a year ago. Bowers, a 145-pound last year, took Aberdeen’s Mike Denu down and to his back late in the first period to grab control of the 152-pound match.
Bowers added two more takedowns in period two and the latter led to a fall in 3:41. “I came out there and got the pin next period and worked my hardest to get it,” Bowers said. “My freshman and sophomore year, I got second place, so this is kind of cool, ending it on a big note.”
Teammate Sincere Montgomery, a junior, added the 126 title with a 5-4 win over Patterson Mill junior Ethan Harvey. Montgomery fell behind 2-0 early, but rallied to lead 3-2 after one period.
Montgomery then added a takedown in period two for the 5-2 lead. Harvey managed two neutral points the rest of the way as Montgomery held on for the win.
The Bobcats other title came at 106. Freshman Trevor Lorin won the title without having to wrestle in the finals. North East’s Gabe Nuzzo was unable to compete due to injury.
Lorin’s older brother, Brent Lorin, was seeking a third straight UCBAC title as the top seed at 120.
In the final, Lorin, a junior, met CMW super freshman James Riveira. It was the third meeting in a month.
Lorin won the first by pin, but Riveira avenged the loss with a win a week and a half ago. It was Lorin’s first career loss in high school wrestling.
Lorin now has two, both to Riveira. Riveira blanked Lorin, 5-0, for the title. “I stay away from his lockups, trying to create space and attacking off his being off balance,” Riveira said.
Riveira took Lorin down in the first period and then controlled Lorin in the down position for the full two minutes of period two.
Lorin then chose to give Riveira neutral to begin period three and a short time later, Riveira had Lorin down for the final time in the shutout win. “Yeah, I wanted to make a point that I could beat this kid and that I deserve to be one of the best in our league. It feels like I’m on top of the world right now,” Riveira said.
Lorin, a bit dejected, said, “From the neutral position, what James is very good at, is he’s avoiding the tie-up where I’m strong, so he’s creating situations where he’s put at an advantage and I’m not so comfortable in.”
Riveira’s teammate, senior Wyatt Graham cruised to the 220 title, his third UCBAC title in three years. Graham took Bel Air senior Joe Cirillo down and to his back right away. Cirillo was able to gain neutral, but Graham took him back down and finished the job.
Graham pinned Cirillo in 1:46. “I was focused on this tournament, but my main goal is for states,” Graham said. Graham, unbeaten this year, was unbeaten into the state final a year ago, before losing. “That’s what this whole year has been for me. Ever since last year, I took second, that just pushed me to go out and reach first this year.”
Senior Mike Mitrega gave CMW a third champion, winning the 113 crown over Bel Air junior Troy Dureza, 5-0.
Mitrega led 3-0 into the final period and added one more takedown to finalize the scoring.
North Harford sophomore Josh Mitchell was a champ in 2017 and entered this tourney with an unbeaten mark. Mitchell met Fallston senior Josh Ford in the 132 final and Ford dominated, beating Mitchell by major decision, 15-5.
Another defending champ, Edgewood junior Daviyon Johnson fell short in OT in the 285 final.
Johnson and CMW junior Sawyer Sturla were locked 1-1 through regulation and one overtime period. Sturla then escaped from the down position before 30 seconds was up, but Johnson was unable to do the same with his 30-second opportunity, giving Sturla to the win and a fourth CMW champion.
The other defending champion, Bel Air junior Jack Brink, was unsuccessful as well in the 195 final.
Brink ran into Aberdeen senior Chris Madera, who controlled Brink throughout, en route to a 10-3 win.
Madera took Brink down twice in the first period and after a scoreless second period, scored a reverse, followed by two more takedowns. Brink’s points came with given neutral positions from Madera.
“Great, I fought after being injured and ineligible, sadly, so it feels good to finally come back and I got coaches and a lot of support in my corner cheering me on every step of the way, even when I fell like I can’t do it,” Madera said.
Patterson Mill crowned two champions. Senior Jordan Myers won the 145 title with an impressive 9-3 win over Perryville senior Jarrett Hunter, while undefeated senior Hunter Crowley was even more impressive in the 182 final. Crowley dominated Harford Tech’s Nick Warner from the whistle, taking him down three times. The third time resulted in the fall at 1:53.
Fallston senior Christian Wilson was top seed at 170, but was beaten by Rising Sun senior Richie Moore, 9-2.
Bel Air’s Dave Abboud reached the 160 final, but top seed Marshall Johnston, a North East senior, put Abboud behind 11-3, before pinning him in 3:49.
Havre de Grace senior Alex Lloyd also reached the final at 138, where he met nemesis Silas Filliaux, a Rising Sun junior.